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Attached is my summary of the N-Scale Flex Track situation for the USA. It looks like Atlas is the winner for Code 55. Review & comment? Any votes on which of the 6 MFGs are most realistic to (prototype) North American railroads today?
 

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I used Peco the tie spacing doesn't bother me, I'm not a rivet counter. In 30 years not one single problem.
 

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Winer?

Attached is my summary of the N-Scale Flex Track situation for the USA. It looks like Atlas is the winner for Code 55. Review & comment? Any votes on which of the 6 MFGs are most realistic to (prototype) North American railroads today?
I don't understand how you determined that Atlas "is the winner for code 55" unless you mean they sell more, which is probably true.

Micro Engineering is by far, the most realistic looking flex track in code 55 or any other code. Their detail is fantastic!
The Atlas code 55 N-scale track is a considerable improvement on their code 80 track which, frankly, is serviceable, but ugly.

Atlas code 55 N-scale turnouts are also better than their code 80 "Snap Switch" turnouts, but that's not saying much since the "Snap Switches" are some of the worst ever made. (Bachmann with their abysmal quality, EZ-Track turnouts has just managed to snatch the title of "worst turnout out there", but it was a "real squeaker" between Bachmann EZ-Track turnouts, and Atlas Snap Switches.)
Atlas code 55 turnouts can't hold a candle compared to either Micro- Engineering, or Peco, however.

Two other minor points I noticed in your chart.

Bachmann may have some offices in the U.S. but everything Bachmann sells is made in China I would not see them as a "U. S." company. Some Atlas products, are also made in China, but they do make some products in the U.S. too.

I've been in N-scale for many years but I have yet to see a model "structure" made by Micro-Trains.
Engines & rolling stock yes. Structures though? I don't think so.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't understand how you determined that Atlas "is the winner for code 55" unless you mean they sell more, which is probably true.

Micro Engineering is by far, the most realistic looking flex track in code 55 or any other code. Their detail is fantastic!
The Atlas code 55 N-scale track is a considerable improvement on their code 80 track which, frankly, is serviceable, but ugly.

Atlas code 55 N-scale turnouts are also better than their code 80 "Snap Switch" turnouts, but that's not saying much since the "Snap Switches" are some of the worst ever made. (Bachmann with their abysmal quality, EZ-Track turnouts has just managed to snatch the title of "worst turnout out there", but it was a "real squeaker" between Bachmann EZ-Track turnouts, and Atlas Snap Switches.)
Atlas code 55 turnouts can't hold a candle compared to either Micro- Engineering, or Peco, however.

Two other minor points I noticed in your chart.

Bachmann may have some offices in the U.S. but everything Bachmann sells is made in China I would not see them as a "U. S." company. Some Atlas products, are also made in China, but they do make some products in the U.S. too.

I've been in N-scale for many years but I have yet to see a model "structure" made by Micro-Trains.
Engines & rolling stock yes. Structures though? I don't think so.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
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"serviceable, but ugly." My top priority in scale modeling is accuracy to the prototype, not cosmetics.

MANY American manufacturers are farming out production to low labor cost countries like China. This has become commonplace in the US. I do believe that Bachmann is based in the USA though.

Check out "N Scale Micro-Trains Kit Structures" on the MicroTrains web site (www.micro-trains.com). :)
 

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"serviceable, but ugly." My top priority in scale modeling is accuracy to the prototype, not cosmetics.

MANY American manufacturers are farming out production to low labor cost countries like China. This has become commonplace in the US. I do believe that Bachmann is based in the USA though.

Check out "N Scale Micro-Trains Kit Structures" on the MicroTrains web site (www.micro-trains.com). :)
Many model railroad companies are based in the US: Atlas, Athearn (Horizon Hobbies), Bachmann, and Walthers, just to cover the biggest. But their track and rolling stock isn't made here. It's made overseas. One of the concessions they have had to make to keep prices low.

The lone exception, so far as I know, is MicroEngineering, which is, in fact, made in a small facility in Fenton, MO. That's also the brand I would recommend for the best prototypical appearance.

I'm not sure how you distinguish "cosmetics" from "accuracy to the prototype". How can it be prototypically accurate if it doesn't LOOK like the real thing?

The one thing about ME track, though, is that it is stiff, not springy. Harder to shape, but once shaped it stays put. Some people (me & Traction Fan, to name 2) prefer this feature. Not everyone does.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Many model railroad companies are based in the US: Atlas, Athearn (Horizon Hobbies), Bachmann, and Walthers, just to cover the biggest. But their track and rolling stock isn't made here. It's made overseas. One of the concessions they have had to make to keep prices low.

The lone exception, so far as I know, is MicroEngineering, which is, in fact, made in a small facility in Fenton, MO. That's also the brand I would recommend for the best prototypical appearance.

I'm not sure how you distinguish "cosmetics" from "accuracy to the prototype". How can it be prototypically accurate if it doesn't LOOK like the real thing?

The one thing about ME track, though, is that it is stiff, not springy. Harder to shape, but once shaped it stays put. Some people (me & Traction Fan, to name 2) prefer this feature. Not everyone does.
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Okay, and another "exception" would be Micro-Trains which is STILL doing manufacturing in the USA (Talent, OR). They seem to have very high-quality products at fair prices.
 

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I sit corrected

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"serviceable, but ugly." My top priority in scale modeling is accuracy to the prototype, not cosmetics.

MANY American manufacturers are farming out production to low labor cost countries like China. This has become commonplace in the US. I do believe that Bachmann is based in the USA though.

Check out "N Scale Micro-Trains Kit Structures" on the MicroTrains web site (www.micro-trains.com). :)
tbarber;

OK, I'll admit I was wrong about Micro-Trains not making structures. Apparently they do make some. The reason I call Atlas code 80 flex track "ugly" is because it looks very toy-like, and not very much like real track. The ties are too short. The spacing between the ties is too big. The rails measure an N-scale one foot high. In short it's "ugly" in terms of what any model should try to do, look like it's prototype. Atlas code 80 track does not. Atlas code 55 does look more like real track than Atlas code 80. Neither of them look as prototypical as Micro -Engineering track.

Traction Fan :smilie_auslachen:
 

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Many model railroad companies are based in the US: Atlas, Athearn (Horizon Hobbies), Bachmann, and Walthers, just to cover the biggest. But their track and rolling stock isn't made here. It's made overseas. One of the concessions they have had to make to keep prices low.

The lone exception, so far as I know, is MicroEngineering, which is, in fact, made in a small facility in Fenton, MO. That's also the brand I would recommend for the best prototypical appearance.

I'm not sure how you distinguish "cosmetics" from "accuracy to the prototype". How can it be prototypically accurate if it doesn't LOOK like the real thing?

The one thing about ME track, though, is that it is stiff, not springy. Harder to shape, but once shaped it stays put. Some people (me & Traction Fan, to name 2) prefer this feature. Not everyone does.
That's about 50 miles from here. I had no idea they were so close. I could probably order direct (if they sell direct to the public) and save the shipping costs from Maryland.
 

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That's about 50 miles from here. I had no idea they were so close. I could probably order direct (if they sell direct to the public) and save the shipping costs from Maryland.
It would be worth looking into, although my guess would be that they don't. They're a very small company, and probably don't want all the extra complexity that selling direct would involve. But I could well be wrong about that.

Since they're kind of your neighbors, you might be interested in this video segment from the "What's Neat This Week" segment of Model Railroad Hobbyist from Nov 2012. They have a facility tour, and showed them making their flex track.

https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/magazine/mrh-2012-11-nov/wntw_micro-engineering-visit
 
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